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D'Onta Foreman vaults into the stands – and becomes a new fan favorite 

D'Onta Foreman

CHARLOTTE – D'Onta Foreman clearly wanted to get to the end zone. But then, he had another destination in mind.

After scoring a touchdown on Thursday Night Football, Foremen went into the stands at Bank of America Stadium. Like a rock star jumping into a crowd during a concert, Foreman ascended into the seats and met a group of Panthers fans where they were. He couldn't tell if they said anything to him, but he did notice the beer spilling everywhere.

It wasn't a spur-of-the-moment decision; Foreman went into the Panthers' 25-15 win over Atlanta with plans to jump into the seats if he scored. So when the moment came, and Foreman went in on a 12-yard rush near the end of the third quarter, he knew where he was headed.

"It was kind of a high jump; I didn't expect it to be that high," he said. "It was cool, though. It was fun. It was just something I've always wanted to do."

It was a lofty leap, as tight end Tommy Tremble had to come in to help Foreman up, and center Bradley Bozeman looked on with a twinge of concern.

Bozeman, who had turned around to celebrate with quarterback PJ Walker, looked back toward the end zone to see Foreman become consumed in the crowd of people. And he felt a little concerned.

"(I) look back, and he's all the way up in the stands," Bozeman said. "I'm like, 'Oh, hey, don't fall, please.' But it was awesome."

Walker was equally worried, saying he didn't realize Foreman was up there: "I was just waiting for him to get back down so I could show him some love."

Foreman was a big reason why there was a celebration throughout the stadium, carrying the ball 31 times for 130 yards, to lead a season-high rushing game on a night that demanded it. As remnants of Hurricane Nicole started to come in, bringing rain and gusty wind, the Panthers carried the ball 47 times for 232 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry — and hanging onto the ball despite the conditions.

"I said it from day one that we want to try to control the line of scrimmage," interim coach Steve Wilks said. "To me, I know the league has somewhat changed a little bit, where everybody thinks about passing, but as a defensive guy, I understand there's nothing more demoralizing than having 200 or something yards ran on you."

Wilks then paused while giving his answer, and he must have had flashbacks to Cincinnati, where the Bengals put up 241 yards on the Panthers.

"All right, last week, so I know what happens in regards to that; it just kills your morale," Wilks continued. "So our mindset is controlling the line of scrimmage and trying to establish the run game to create shots over the top."

Foreman is used to the workload against the Falcons, and he has delivered. He put up a combined 248 yards on 57 attempts with four touchdowns in the Panthers' two matchups with Atlanta.

"D'Onta Foreman is a guy that can carry the workload," Wilks said. "You've got to give him those opportunities to get him going. And you saw it tonight, what he can do."

From Foreman's point of view, he never wavered from being the workhorse.

"I never tapped out; tired a little bit, a little winded at times, but when the game's on the line, there's no coming out," Foreman said. "You've just got to continue to grind and continue to pound it. That's what I wanted to do."

Asked if he thinks he'll be jumping into the stands again, Foreman said his next celebration would be spent with his teammates. But he did enjoy realizing a lifetime dream.

"I've got to show my O-line a little bit more love when I go get in that end zone because those guys have been tremendous for me," Foreman said. "So a lot of credit, a lot of love for those guys. But it was just something that I've always wanted to do. I actually wanted to get in the stands, so I just made it happen today."

View the best in-game photos from Carolina's Week 10 game against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football.

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